Letters: Crisis in Cameroon

Dear Rebecca Tinsley,

I would like to say you have been doing a great job to speak up for the voiceless and powerless in Southern Cameroons. I am from the North West Region with Headquarters in Bamenda. I have read most of your articles and must say my heart bleeds for Cameroon as the experiment of merging two different cultures under the banner of one and indivisible Cameroon without any due regard or respect for the minority rights has failed woefully.

Any individual challenging the Catholic Church for trying to separate Cameroon should take a deep reflection, and if that individual is honest enough he would acknowledge that even the church officials are highly persecuted in Cameroon for speaking up against the injustices of the government. The latest high profile casualty to fall foul is Late Rt Rev Bishop Balla of Bafia assassinated in cold blood and dumped into Sanaga River under the guise of drowning.

The Church has been and remains the cornerstone of development in Cameroon for ages, however, the unity, love for one another preached and propagated by the church of Cameroon has been grossly at odds with greedy, power monger, arrogance politicians of Cameroon who have completely alienated the common people and worse of all the English Speaking Community for self interest and esteem, forgetting to know that power belongs to the people not vice versa. That explained why our government is most probably the older in and around the world headed by an 85 year old gentleman - Mr Paul Biya.

It is an historical fact that Cameroon is made up of two Cameroons, French speaking Cameroon and English speaking Cameroon also known as Southern Cameroons. These two Cameroons gained independence on different dates 01/01/ 1960 and 1/10/1961 respectively. These two Cameroons came together as partners equal in status, with two different states and parliaments and the promise to respect the rights and identity of each other in the 1961 Referendum, though there has never been any treaty of union.

Today Southern Cameroons has not only been re-colonised, it has been completely dissolved into a union that is unfavourable to it in any shape or form, in a blatant violation of the 1961 Federation Constitution of never tampering with the federate state whatever the reason. This has been achieved through manipulations, outright lies, divide and rule tactics and these realities have come back now to haunt the architect of these evils / Machiavellian system of governance as the once presumed docile, slavish and thought to be ignorance English speaking Cameroons for over 56 years have now dared to challenge these injustices, the statusquo / holding the government to account and refusing huge sums to bribe and corrupt some of our leaders.

As usual the government of Mr Biya true to its colours has continued to employ its Machiavellian tactics and has descended on Southern Cameroons with an iron fist. This has been the experienced of Southern Cameroonians for the past 56 years. If you utter the word federation or independence you are classed immediately as a terrorist and should be wiped out from the face of the earth. Arbitrarily arrest, extra-judicial killings, abductions raped, imprisonment, maiming, internet disconnected for more than three month / sporadically and villages have been completely burnt down / decimated. Over 40000 Cameroons are refugees now in Nigeria. This has caused even the moderates Southern Cameroon to question the rationale of being with a brothers, sisters or family members who abuse, ruthlessly beat you up and imprison you whenever you ask for your basic human rights. Remember that parts of Southern Cameroons have families and villages extending into Nigeria, yet in 1953 English Speaking Cameroon walked out of the Eastern House of Nigeria to form their own state after 40 years plus as part of Nigeria. They did not suffer this degrading and inhumane treatment from Nigeria though it is a bigger and powerful nation military wise. If one argues that separating from French Cameroon is breaking families then what happened when Southern Cameroon broke away from Nigeria. Families were separated indeed. All around Africa families cut across so many borders but this is not the issue at stake. The fundamental issue here is the re-colonization of Southern Cameroon partly because oil was discovered in Victoria now called Limbe in the 1970s by La Republic and France.

The UN, AU, and International communities have called for dialogue and in their usual arrogance attitude French Cameroon and their leader Biya have shunned all forms of dialogues. This is a government that preaches a one and indivisible Cameroon yet doesn't have the courtesy to sit down and dialogue with their own citizens. Biya is backed by France who protects him in power because of their interest according to the Co-operation agreement signed between French Cameroon and De Gaulle in 1959. This explains why Biya is not answerable to Cameroonians and will never be.

Cameroon was never one and indivisible because Germany colonised Cameroon from 1884 before they were defeated in WW1. The territory called Cameroon at the time extended right down to Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Central Africa and Nigeria. After the WW1 and in Paris Peace Treaty in 1919 Britain and France became the new colonial administrators of Southern Cameroons with the mission of preparing these parts toward self determination. How then is Cameroon one and indivisible?

If Cameroon was one and indivisible the venom /terror / killing machine by way of military unleased by Mr Biya and France on Southern Cameroonians would be inadmissible. Cameroon will never be one and indivisible as Southern Cameroonians have lost all faith in Biya - Yaounde and France to govern them. This explains in brief the rationale for Southern Cameroons clamouring for a return to their own state which was duly voted for by 64 countries at the UN accordance to resolution 1608 - granting independence to Southern Cameroons. Returning to a federal state is a lesser evil but no longer a popular option as French Cameroon will still continue with their intrigues and manoeuvrings. Once bitten twice shy.

Mr Biya will need to kill all Southern Cameroonians before he will take control over their territory anymore. The children fighting today to re-establish their state were never born when their ancestors were out - manoeuvred by late President Ahmadou Alhijio who died in exile and currently buried in Senegal, and continued by Mr Biya. Until there is a frank, open dialogue, reconciliation, justice and truth committee set in place and both parties willing to meet each other face to face, I would say unequivocally that Southern Cameroonians are hurt to the core and no amount of killing or intimidation will change the statusquo.

I condemn vehemently all killing but the international committee has remained inactive, muted and there is a genocide and ethnic cleansing silently going on in Southern Cameroons. If we assume we have a government, then one is tempted to ask how did we get here if we do have one. In fact the George Orwell Animal Farm story comes to mind "all animals are equal but some animals are more equal that others."

Vincent Yein


Dear Vincent and Rebecca,

"Any individual challenging the Catholic Church for trying to separate Cameroon should take a deep reflection, and if that individual is honest enough he would acknowledge that even the church officials are highly persecuted in Cameroon for speaking up against the injustices of the government"

The Catholic Church has always been political, although we have always been left to understand that, the church is there for peace not taking party but keep peace.

In Cameroon, Cardinal Tumi was bold enough to take part in supporting the movement in favor to the secession. My question to him and the Catholic Church he represents is: Why don't you denonciate those who are trying to tear apart your home country (only if no more) respectfully the country which accepted to pardon the catholic church after the painfull manner used to settle in Cameroon.

Talking history my dear Vincent is good, but unfortunately for you I know how it feel to listen sentence like "il fait comme un Bamenda" and others... but I WILL NEVER EVER TOLERATE a group of activist, separatist and murderer let them be catholic or having the support of the Catholic Church.
I said murderer, the central government is not the one we all prefer but atleast even GOD and human common sense will not justify a reaction of distress by killing terrifying civilians who are not willing to follow them apart just like the catholic church.

This story of 1961 which was revived every year by the SCNC finally got out of hand and it is interesting the follow the evolution ....
"On 1st October 1890, the first group of Pallotine Missionaries embarked on the German steamer 'Petropolis' en route to Cameroon. There were 2 priests, 5 brothers and a Seminarian. They headed up to the Sananga River until they arrived at a place just below Edea and set up their first Mission under Father Walter, and named the place Marienberg (Mary Mount). In 1894, they founded Bonjongo, first in West Cameroon."

For more read www.dioceseofkumbo.org/

From where i come from they say "ASAKA" and I'm deeply disappointed by the catholic church from Kumbo letting the bansoh people fighting against each others ... what for?

Have you been in some villagies in the west province next to us???

Still, the government is not the best, but the infrastructures in our localities belong to us. Burning them and Killing terrifying people will can not help.

I, a son of GOD, hereby challenge CARDINAL TUMI to stop giving his blessing supporting secessionists terrorists killing and terrifying directly or indirectly the population which church. For more than half a century you have been preaching for peace and wellfare not for the old testament vindication.

For my siblings from Bansoh, don't follow the secessionists terrorists. Be proud of KUMBO and be zealous for your home country because it is where you belongs.

We will deficit the thieves ... let us challenge the next step to our success




Hi Tchala.

I think you are missing the point here. The mandate to govern Cameroon was never confided to the Catholic Church. You seem to have some personal scores to settle with the Catholic Church. Cardinal Christian Tumi remains a fearless outspoken critic of the demonic system passing as government in Cameroon. That is why it hurts you so much. As a man of God he also has emotions and feelings and the word of God is not preached in a vacuum. He speaks to the forgotten people, the downtrodden the voiceless and I must say I admire his courage. If he were not Cardinal Tumi he would have most certainly been arrested, abducted or eliminated a long time ago. This is the sad reality we experience in our country every day. How then do you expect gentlemen and ladies of the English Speaking expression to feel that they belong when they have been systematically excluded from a country that does no longer represent their aspiration or that of their offspring.

When ordinary folks ask for their basic human rights you guys tag them as terrorists. What a shame. The only captain responsible for rocking the boat which is Cameroon is the 85 year octogenarian sitting at the helm of power, the person of course you glorify and idolise. Only divine intervention will save Cameroon.


Tags: Cameroon, Rebecca Tinsley

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